Choosing the right makeup artist for your wedding day is an important part of the planning process. As a bride, you want to feel special, and getting your makeup done is a big part of that. Having a professional do your makeup will ensure that you look amazing in those photos that you will surely want to revisit again and again.

The right makeup artist won’t only make you look amazing, but they will also put you at ease and make you feel confident and prepared for your big celebration. Here are the main things you should keep in mind for choosing the right makeup artist for that big day:


Before you start looking for the perfect makeup artist, it’s important that you first iron out the details of your big day. The main questions you need to ask yourself are the following:

  • Who else is getting their makeup done? Are you the only one, is your mother also interested in professional makeup, or would you like your entire bridal party to get glammed up? You should also consider whether each person is paying for themselves, or whether you would like to make the makeup application your gift to the bridal party, which is not unheard of.
  • Where are you getting ready? Do you need the makeup artist to come to your home or hotel room, are you getting ready at a bridal salon, or would you rather go to the makeup artist’s studio?
  • How are you scheduling everything? A bridal makeup application can take 45 minutes to an hour and a half, and you should also keep in mind how long styling your hair will take. You also need to consider who else is getting their makeup done, and by what time they need to be ready. Always add a bit of grace time when putting together a wedding day schedule, and ask your makeup artist for input on how much time they’ll need to work.

Figure Out Your Preferences

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Some women have a vivid picture of how they will look on their wedding day, a picture they often come up with years before even meeting their husband-to-be! For those who haven’t contemplated their wedding day look, it’s good to first start out with an idea as it will help direct you towards a makeup artist with the right style. Traditionally, most Western brides opt for a natural and demure makeup look, but there is nothing wrong with rocking something more intense or glamorous. The important thing is that you feel amazing on your special day!

Websites like Pinterest, Instagram, and Youtube can be great resources for helping direct you towards the kind of looks you like. You can save photos of makeup looks that you think might be right for your wedding day, and even create mood boards. You can also turn to pictures of celebrities on the red carpet to get inspiration, and if you’re a little more old-school, you can cut photos out of magazines and make a collage.

Remember that a makeup artist cannot turn you into someone else, so try and stay away from photos of celebrities whose features you like more than you like the makeup. You may end up finding a photo of the one perfect look, or you might end up finding one example where you like the lips and another one where you like the eyes. It’s okay to mix and match if necessary.


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It’s very important that before going into your search, you consider how much you are willing to spend on your makeup. A single bridal makeup application can cost as little as $60 (the lowest would be $150 if your makeup artist also styles hair) but it can go up to thousands of dollars, especially if you hire a celebrity makeup artist.

Some makeup artists may offer special prices if they are doing makeup for the entire bridal party, while others might charge depending on whether they have to come to you or you come to their studio. If you decide to penny pinch, you are likely to end up with a less experienced makeup artist, although that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t do a good job.

That said, if you find a makeup artist who charges substantially less than the price range we present here, you should be a little skeptical and you might want to inquire about their training and the quality of products they use.

Portfolio and Reviews

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Once you have at least an idea of how you want your makeup to look, start looking at the makeup artists available in your area. Some MUAs advertise online, while others might be presenting at your local wedding expo. You can also crowdsource recommendations from local wedding-planning forums and groups.

Most makeup artists will have an online portfolio either on their own website or on social media websites like Facebook or Instagram. Have a look at their photos and see if you like their makeup style – you might even be able to point to a specific photo from their portfolio and ask them to recreate that look on you for your wedding day! Watch out for makeup portfolios filled with overly edited or photoshopped images. While photoshop is not necessarily a sign of a bad makeup artist, it hides their actual work so it should put some doubt in your mind.

You should also have a look at that makeup artist’s reviews to see what other people’s experience with them was. You can find reviews on Facebook, Google Maps, Yelp, and local wedding boards. Don’t just look at whether reviews are good or bad – try to read between the lines to understand what are the common experiences people have with a specific makeup artist, and how that might influence you.


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The morning before your wedding can be stressful, since you will have dozens of different things on your mind, from how you will look to who will come to whether everything will run on time. You want to surround yourself with people who will put your mind at ease, which is why ensuring you have a makeup artist with whom you have good rapport is extremely important. The last thing you want is a person who you can’t stand fussing around you on such a stressful morning!

This is why we recommend that before booking or scheduling anything, first have a quick phone call with the makeup artist you are thinking of hiring. In that phone call you can tell them what you think you will like and the details of your wedding day. You can also ask them questions about their technique and products, and most importantly, you can get an idea of their personality and how the two of you mesh. If you have any odd vibes during the phone call, you might choose to forego that makeup artist and book someone else with whom you can vibe better.

This is another one of those things that is totally subjective, of course: one person might want a very talkative makeup artist who can keep them entertained and put their mind at ease on their wedding day, while another person might prefer having a very quiet and meditative environment with a makeup artist who doesn’t chat too much.

Book a Trial

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Having a makeup trial before your wedding day is extremely important, and should never be skipped! A trial gives both you and your makeup artist a chance to get to know each other and to develop your look for your wedding day. Few makeup artists offer free makeup trials, since a trial is still a full makeup application, but many offer packages that include a trial application along with wedding day makeup for a reduced price. You can book your trial for a day when you’d like to look extra nice, like a date night or your bachelorette party.

Even if you find a ton of inspiration photos and have a very clear idea of what you would like, you may discover that things are a little different once that makeup is on your face. This will also give you a chance to learn how the different products feel — maybe you’ll find that you hate the way false eyelashes feel, or maybe you’ll discover an allergy. Either way, these are things that are better to learn at a makeup trial then on the day of your wedding.

Once the trial is over, it’s very important to take photos so you can see how the makeup looks on camera. A classic example of why this is important is blush, which often disappears on camera even if the amount of it looks sufficient in real life. You can also send photos to your friends and family to get an idea of what they think, and to see if they think you should change anything. With that said, once again, makeup is subjective so the opinion you need to value the most is your own.

If, after the trial, you come up with any changes that need to be made, it’s a good idea to let your makeup artist know at least a few days before the wedding, in case they need to buy any new products or even to just mentally prepare themselves for the changes. A good makeup artist only cares about making the bride happy, so don’t be afraid to be honest with them about what you want!

And there you have it, this is everything you need to know when setting out to find the best makeup artist for your wedding day.

Guest Author Bio:

Matthew Burke is the Managing Editor of Makeup Artist Essentials, a site dedicated to helping cosmetics lovers become makeup artists. He lives in NYC, and he can’t wait to buy his hippie aunt a Carrot Colour Pot from Ere Perez for Christmas.